I always wondered where my love of all things new and gadgety came from. Certainly not my father who resisted 625 line televsion until they switched off the signal and refused to have a radio in his car as ‘it’s just something else to go wrong’. But then I came across an old Phonograph recording made by my Great Grandfather round the turn of the twentieth century. Having bought this new machine, he promptly fell in love with it and cut his own cylinder extolling the virtues of the technology and its power to change the world. It is a glowing peon of optimism and belief in the priviledge of living at such exciting tecnnological times. I have heard that somewhere before! If you don’t believe me, here are the transcribed two minutes thirty seconds:
‘This phonograph, or gramophone is a modern scientific instrument calculated to teach and instruct and amuse. It is not a toy, yet it is very amusing. And we repeat, that in the near future, if used properly, it may examine important “events”, recording the morals of the people. Then we remember events openly on this phonograph or gramophone, that may be repeated any number of times; and hear from any number of people who record and speak openly and forever.
And we do hope that in the future the use of this scientific instrument may be a means of promoting much good and last forever. And all at the fireside who play a part may prosper by this wonderful invention.
We have this afternoon been enjoying ourselves thoroughly. What with the phonograph, the piano and the viola, it has been a most entertaining, productive and comforting gathering. And we do earnestly hope that all who are connected with us, and all that we remember at this particular time, may be so blessed that they may wisely and well fulfill their needs with good and plain hope, and live to His glory. Amen.’
Remember this was before radio, before the telephone took hold, and certainly before television was even dreamt of. I feel an incredible linkeage across 100 years with him. And if you listen to his voice (hard but possible), there is a immediate connection to a genuinely enthusiastic youngish man totally oblivious of the traumas he and his country were to face only nine years later.